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How LOTA solves the consciousness ‘hard problem’.

By Cornel Slenters

This article will focus on a particular aspect of consciousness described by David Chalmers in 1995 as ‘the hard problem'. He speculated that it may take many decades of research before the answer would be found since: pure physiological approaches are not going to solve ‘the  hard problem’, we will need something else!

What is ‘the hard problem’ in consciousness?
In essence it is finding a logical explanation for the emergence of subjective experience.

More recently, Richard Dawkins was asked in an interview the one  question he wanted most to see answered, to which he replied: 'how does subjective consciousness work?'

So here we are: it is obviously important and not yet solved. Or is it?

This short article will provide answers
to the following questions:
  • what generates the sense of uniqueness?
  • what is the origin of consciousness?
  • how does subjective consciousness emerge?
Thus answer the questions raised by David Chalmers and Richard Dawkins.

There is an irony in this story, not uncommon in the world of science: The LOTA philosophy of science, published just one year later (1996), answered 'the hard problem' yet the academic philosophy community never picked up on it.

It is the holistic approach in the LOTA philosophy of science through which an answer was found,  confirming that  a pure materialistic approach was too limited  for the discovery of a solution. Indeed, the solution of 'the hard problem' required  something else, something beyond a physiological approach. 

While we move here beyond 'methodological materialism', the methods used are nevertheless scientific.

The fundamentals

Starting with the discovery of an organizing principle from which all our experiences  appear to emerge. At the center of it is Creative-R, a scalar expressing the rate at which new interactions are created when interactions meet.  The self organizing structures evolving as a result of Creative-R are independent of space-time, meaning physical as well as non-physical structures can organize along the same principles.  Physical laws are a manifestation of Creative-R but not an explanation for it. Hence, it views Creative-R as the fundamental creative force from which the universe emerges, present in all aspects of our existence.

The second discovery is the fact that the Creative-R levels in our universe are orders of magnitude higher than the level needed for ‘self-organization’.

With these insights we can construct mathematical models that predict the likely levels of interconnectedness in our universe and with some luck discover ‘deep structures’ that go beyond normal levels of observation. The results are mind boggling.

As a starter: every ‘entity’ is directly connected with every other entity in the universe through dynamic interactions, at all levels. An ‘entity’ can be a grain of sand on the beach, a thought, the earth, a cloud, your mother in law, in essence anything you can think of and it is transcendental.  Science is moving in this direction and the notion finds a good level of support by scholars from East and West.

The sense of uniqueness

A natural consequence of this immense level of interconnectedness through dynamic interactions is this: All interactions take place within the context of looping interaction patterns. The notion that our entire universe consists of dynamic looping interaction patterns is clearly visible from the mathematical models, yet still faces substantial skepticism in certain branches of science. One reason is that the ‘all loops’ scenario would seem in conflict with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, whereas in reality it is not.  For the sceptic: all waves are derived from looping interaction patterns and all spins come from looping interaction patterns. Cycles are loops. Spirals, helixes and vortexes consist of several loops, along different axis.

There is magic in loops, as we shall see in a moment:

Picture in your imagination an entity, for instance yourself. You are now connected in looping patterns with every other entity in the universe.  You are unique because there is no other entity in the universe with that set of connections. You are at the center of your universe.

The emergence of consciousness

The looping interaction patterns mentioned are dynamic, in constant renewal, adaptation and change. Your actions influence every loop in your multi-dimensional environment.

Moreover, you (your entity) would not exist unless your entity participates actively in keeping these countless loops ‘alive’ at all levels.

Consequently,  your actions, at all levels, are closely linked to the sense of identity that springs forth from your balancing act in this dynamic multi-dimensional universal web of interactions.

Your sense of identity puts you now in a dilemma between two opposing forces:

  • The first force is your desire to resist change, because you want to preserve your sense of identity.
  • The second force is the influence of the constantly changing dynamic pattern around you, which forces you to change and adapt.


Your search for balance between these two forces is the origin of your consciousness.

And so it is for every entity, at all levels, animate and inanimate.

The subjective experience

The dynamics of consciousness just described are at the base of all your relationships in life, such as your relationships with your parents, children, local community, profession, money, interests, talents, etc.  They all form aspects of your consciousness, each being subject to the same dynamics.

You are not only unique in the way you generate consciousness, but you are also unique in the ways you experience and manage this multitude of aspects through constant adaptation and learning.

These dynamics are also present under different names, such as:
  • 'Strategy' in organizations.
  • 'Intend' in psychology.
  • 'Politics' in government.
They are also present in the basic stages of learning, starting from 'denial without evaluation' up to 'it is obvious', depending on your subjective experience and motivation.

If you want to see these dynamics in action as an 'observer', just watch the daily news.

You will also find these fundamental dynamics in the works of researchers on human consciousness, such as Stanislav Grof (The Holotropic Mind) or Denys Kelsey (Now and Then).

This short article has outlined the methodology from which the emergence of subjective consciousness can be  explained. For a more complete coverage on consciousness and the LOTA philosophy of science you are offered Breakthrough, the Origins of Mind, Space of Time as an ebook, which you can download here for free (pdf).

For a more casual exploration and a PowerPoint introduction on the subject:
Start from Slenters Philosophy of science homepage

David Chalmers has been invited to comment.

Richard Dawkins has been invited to comment as well. Would he accept a 'vitalist' solution? 
That would be the greatest show on earth!

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For further writings by Cornel Slenters, explore the website trilogy dedicated to:
LOTA science theories & debates
Emotional Intelligence